News & Politics

Former NBA Players Charged in $4 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

David J. Phillip

Eighteen former NBA players have been charged with defrauding their own health and welfare benefit fund of $4 million.

According to the indictment, the former players engaged in a widespread scheme to defraud the benefit plan by submitting false and fraudulent claims to get reimbursed for medical and dental expenses they never incurred,

Terrence Williams, a former first-round pick in 2009, got the scheme off the ground when he submitted a $19,000 fraudulent claim for chiropractic care that was never performed. He received a $7,600 payout as a result of the fraudulent claim.

Williams then recruited other players to participate in the scam.

ESPN:

The indictment said he then recruited other former NBA players to defraud the plan and offered to provide fraudulent invoices from a chiropractor and dentist in Southern California and a wellness office in Washington state.

At least 10 of the former players paid kickbacks totaling about $230,000 to Williams, according to the court papers. A lawyer who has represented Williams in the past declined to comment.

The fraud occurred between 2017 and 2020 so the players didn’t get away with it for very long. There weren’t too many marquee names involved in the conspiracy.

Those charged included four NBA champions. Glen Davis, along with Allen, was part of that 2008 title team in Boston, Shannon Brown won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Melvin Ely won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Among others who were charged, Tony Wroten, Ruben Patterson and Darius Miles were the only players who averaged double figures for their NBA career.

Wroten averaged 11.1 points in 145 career games. Patterson averaged 10.7 points per game with six teams. Miles, the No. 3 pick in the 2000 draft, averaged 10.1 points per game while playing with four franchises.

According to WLS-TV in Chicago, the investigation uncovered the fact that the fraudulent invoices were “created by a chiropractic office in Encino, California; two dentist offices in Beverly Hills; and a wellness office in Washington state.” Surprisingly, no one from those offices has yet to be indicted.

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